Brown Girls Swim offers swim lessons and coaching services | The Roux

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Former competitive swimmer Amani Khabeer is on a mission.

One stroke at a time, she wants to close the gap of black girls hitting the water in the New Orleans area with her swimming school, Brown Girls Swim.

As the founder and CEO of Brown Girls Swim, Khabeer believes it is essential to increase the participation, knowledge and skill of swimming in the African American community. Her company provides lessons, training and advanced coaching.

“Brown Girls Swim is committed to breaking barriers created by a history of racial segregation that has contributed to the current national minority gap in swimming today,” Khabeer said.

Brown Girls Swim offers affordable at-home private swimming lessons, group swimming lessons, and competitive coaching services to toddlers, children, teens, and adults.

“At Brown Girls Swim we also enroll male swimmers, but our targeted focus are women and young girls of color,” Khabeer added.

Khabeer brings extensive knowledge of competitive swimming and swim instruction to Brown Girls Swim. She is a former NCAA collegiate swimmer who swam competitively for 18 years. She is also a past USA Club swimmer and a Philadelphia Public League champion.

“When I began to swim on the collegiate level at my university, I immediately saw the lack of diversity when it came to African American women in swimming and coaching,” Khabeer said. “As a NCAA scholarship student athlete, I begin to feel a lack of motivation in college and even had thoughts of hanging up my swimsuit earlier than expected.”

Looking back, she said, “I realized that I was suffering from imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, and accomplishment and attribute their success to luck despite external evidence of their competence.”

The organization launched its first Learn to Swim Program in June 2021 and has surpassed enrollment projections, now serving up to 50 swimmers in the area. Enrolled swimmers, ages 5-11, also received a pair of free goggles for participating in the program.

“In July 2021, Brown Girls Swim will be expanding their seats to serve up to 70 swimmers,” Khabeer added.

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After finally overcoming the challenge of not having a pool, Khabeer is now able to offer lessons at the Dryades YMCA pool.

Brown Girls Swim boasts an experienced staff that includes Tiyi Christopher, a former swimmer and current educator at KIPP Morial Primary School, and Christopher Doucet, an educator and swim instructor and coach with NORD Aquatics. Junior instructors and team members are Faith Manson, Mckenna Anderson, and Summer Williams who are competitive swimmers supporting the Learn to Swim Program.

“I am very proud of the staff at Brown Girls Swim. We have an amazing team that comes to the table with so many skills and experiences not just in the pool but outside of the pool,” Khabeer said. “Coming to the pool and seeing a team of African American instructors with swim experience is rare and I appreciate all their hard work.”

Khabeer is inspired by swim coaches who intentionally create opportunities for African American youth to learn how to swim recreationally and competitively and her parents, Fareed Khabeer and Kimberly Khabeer.

“I am fortunate that my parents (my mom specifically) did not pass on a fear of water and not knowing how to swim to me. They made the conscious decision to enroll me in swimming thus breaking a generational curse that is often passed down unintentionally in the African American community.”

Brown Girls Swim also launched its “sponsor a swimmer” program with Black-owned businesses to cover the costs of lessons for swimmers in need, she said.

The organization works with businesses such as Sunset Slush New Orleans where all registered swimmers receive a free scoop of Italian Ice. Students selected as “Swimmer of the Month” also receive a free spa treatment from Glitter Glitz Kids, an upscale kids spa.

“I believe our students being introduced to swimming and learning how to swim by an all-Black team alongside other swimmers that look like them will instill a confidence that they can take with them should they pursue competitive swimming,” Khabeer said.

To register for swim lessons or to sponsor a swimmer, email Khabeer at

[email protected]

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